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August 13, 2008

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Petzal: Be Careful in Bear Country



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Brian T

Gunshots = gut piles
Pepper spray = humans for supper with hot sauce
I live in the mountains in the middle of this. To me, bear spray is 2x12gax#4buck (and 4 more on my vest.


Just remember, you don't have to be faster than the bear, just faster than the slowest person with you. Might consider taking your mother-in-law, ex-wife or maybe even your current wife for a hike in the mountains.

Freak Show

Remember, put all food in someone else's backpack.


Whatever wildlife management folks decide is a good action to ward off bears on park land, the bears quickly learn to associate that action with food. I’ve heard of at least seven other repellant actions besides the pepper spray…..which I believe would just piss off a boar grizzly as he’s snatching the pack off your back..

The silliest and least effective bear repellant was the ringing small bell the park people at Glacier, MT pushed. Those bears learned that bell represented food in no time and swarmed the park patrons.


You have to be able to know how to avoid bears. Wear bells and carry pepper spray.
You also have to be able to recognize bear scat. Black bear scat has berries and small animal bones in it. Grizzly scat has bells and smells like pepper spray.

Clay Cooper

You have to be able to know how to avoid bears. Wear bells and carry pepper spray?

Ok Tinker Bell,
You really think that will work?


Ol’Brother Brian T has it!

A face full of #6 bird shot to the face works great too! They can’t bite what they cannot see.

After 4 years in Alaska I found out the best bear protection is a 22 pistol my Ruger Mark II works fantastic and pair of tennis shoes is my favorite choice!

For those of you use Magnum revolvers, please remember to remove the front sight before use!

Clay Cooper

Anyone truly believe they can predict a bear is a fool!
Following is a video Cabela bear attack.
Keep watching the top right screen!


How to fight a bear!

For you Tinker Bells, this one for you!

Clay Cooper

What did they do wrong here?



Thank you, Bo, for repeating the punch line.

Lone Star 45

Brian T, Bo and Coop has it right! Hey Coop about removing the front sight, thats prety good!

Clay Cooper

Hey Bo

Back in 86-90 in Alaska before Grizzly scat with bells and smells like pepper spray , I watched Brown Bears after dining leaning back against trees using rifle cartridges to pick there teeth with!

Jim in Mo.

Clay, I liked the tinker bells one the best. Whats with the 22? I do have a Ruger MkII gov. model and love it but if your going to shoot their eyes out good luck while charging.
Now lets hear about that front sight removal, my guess is quick holster removal, right?


Having lived, hunted, and fished in bear country since '81 I think I have heard all of these stories plus a few others. I note that you guys for the most part think of a bear as in encountering one at a time. How about four at the same time and place in the trail or five in one day? All hungry and most mean. I sometimes wonder how many see me but I did not get a look at them. Makes a guy naturally cautious while elk hunting and causes the horses to be a mite nervous. Add wolves, lions, coyotes, badgers, and a couple wolverines and you get elk hunting in the northern Rockies. God bless Wyoming and keep it wild.

Jim in Mo.

Since you've experienced a hunt in elk/bear country please answer a question that I think is an old wives tale but don't have experience to back it up. Some former co-workers would go to Colorado to elk hunt by horse back and they would come back and say when they would load elk quarters on the horses the horses would become nervous and unruly because of the smell of the elk blood. Maybe because of attraction to bears. Is this true? Have you ever experienced that?


Jim in MO. all of my elk hunts are in bear country. Insofar as the horses I find that young colts and fillies tend to sometimes be leary of fresh blood. If so we blindfold the horse, rub blood on its nose, and let it stand for a while. Generally this crude process seems to be effective. If not they might buck until they get tired or rid themselves of the unwanted load when the blindfold is removed. If the latter circumstance you get to start packing all over. I believe this reaction to the smell of blood is a possibility whether in bear country or not but can't say for sure as I have never hunted in the mountains where there are no bears. Oddly enough the many times I have run across a griz or black bear while horseback the horse just stopped, perked up its ears, and stared at the bear. Never had one buck or try to run off although I have had people tell me that they have experienced both behaviors. An older gelding old or mare who is attuned to the ways of and animals in the mountains has a different attitude and usually will smell the carcuss and stand to be packed. You usually can somewhat trust this mount who has spent time in and around hills, blood, bears, and all. As you probably know, nothing is ever certain with any horse...
By the way you know you are close to a griz when he farts and blows your hat off.


I use Vicks up the nose on horses to cover the blood smell. The smell of blood is what spooks horses IMO. Vicks also works on controlling stallions if there are mares in season near-by. Saves repairing barns and paddocks.

As Ish wrote nothing is ever certain with a horse until after the fact. I’ve put a horse through fire and horrible din and they haven’t blinked an eye, only to see them go into a screaming fit because a gum wrapper blew across their face. Go figure.

My observation on horses seeing and reacting to any “danger” depends on distance, the phase of the moon, and how confident they are the rider will protect them. I’ve seen horses spook more to gunfire and to something flapping in the breeze than to bear-animal type situations


BTW My worse case of horse[s] spooking to animal was when a peacock hen suddenly appeared in my pasture hedge row.


Is it true the old joke in bear country is to use the .22 to shoot your partner in the foot so he can't out run you running from the bear?
Or the novice who gets cornered by the bear and prays "Lord, I pray that this bear is a Christian bear and will spare me" He hears next the bear praying, "Lord bless this food that is before me!"


If I was alone on Kodiak Island with nothing but a Ruger .22 and was charged by a big griz, I would calmly draw the Mk. II, coolly align it on the target, and with one shot to the brain I'd kill myself!

Clay Cooper

Jim in Mo., Brother buckstopper got it right! In case of a charging bear you shoot your buddy in the ankle and run like hell while he is grabbing his ankle and flopping like a roach!!

Had a horse named Blazer when I was stationed at Holloman AFB, New Mexico. It’s the best place that I know of to hunt. That horse would literally blowup when crossing a bear trail.

Far as Tinker Bells and Pepper Spray? I prefer a big bore rifle that I know I can hit a locomotive in hyper-drive like my Browning A-Bolt 338 Win Mag. I can get that rifle off my shoulder, aim and fire faster that fiddling with some spray can. As far as making noise? I rather to see the bear first than it seeing me!

By the way, if you’re lucky to climb a tree in time you’ll know what kind of bear it is when it bites you. If it climbs to get you it’s a black bear and if it knocks the tree down it’s a Grizz!


Clay Cooper

I’ll tell you guys the same thing I told the 454 Casull shooters at the base range. If you going to use that hog leg for bear protection, Alaska and Federal Law requires you to remove that front sight before use!
Why they asked in stunning belief thinking what the $%^&!!
If you do shoot a bear, it will snatch that gun out of your hands and shove it up your butt and that John deer/Massy Ferguson farm implement called the front sight is hell on the hemorrhoids!! Yes you can attach those 454 Casull etc upside down to the back of your truck and that front sight you can plow up feed plots you can!

Alaskan Wildlife Biologist dropped a charging Grizz with one shot from a 12ga with slugs. Shot the bruin in the eye she did!


I also use the Vick's on stallions and agree that it should work well to mask the odor of blood when applied to a horse's nose. I suppose I just never had any with me in the mountains.
I think we have discussed this prior to now but I still feel that a .44 mag with 265 gr to 300 gr or so bullets is probably the best bear pistol. The reasoning is only in that the effort to afford repeat shots in event of a charge is not as great as with a .500, .454, etc. Making that first and maybe only shot count is difficult under the stressful situation of facing down a stinking, growling, teeth popping grizzley. The more ventilation provided the better. A few people I know still rely on their hunting rifles which is fine if you can connect. Almost everyone agrees on shotguns with buckshot and/or slugs IF you happen to have it with you when needed. Large rifles like hot .45-70's would be excellent but unfortunately we hunt in long range country so enter the .300's
and .338's of various cartridge cases. They appear to be adequate if a dead bear is an indication as demonstrated by several local folks in years past.
Bear spray apparently is effective in warding off the bruins if it sprays when you need it. Some say that you should never test the sprayer to see if it is operable. Others state that one should test spray as some sprayers loose their propellant and you don't know it. The comeback is that maybe everytime you test spray the cannister there is a chance it will not spray when needed due to a clogged tube. I have test sprayed my three a few times and they seemed to work at that moment leaving me to wonder if they will function if needed to get rid of a bear. My old three screw customized Ruger .44's have never failed to fire hot handloads so, for better or worse, I put my faith and life in them. I sure hope I am right if they are needed.


ishawooa's comments about meeting multiple bears on the trail gives me pause, (no pun intended).

I have run many crisis scenarios through my mind in order to help me be prepared in the case of an attack but this is the first it has occurred to me that I might might meet four hungry bears at once! I'm thinking body armor and gatling gun for the next time I'm in bear country!


Weather you live on bear country or not, or just hunt in it, hardly ANY of us really has experience with what is the best bear defense i.e. Pepper spray or a revolver, etc. To the guys who insist that a firearm is the only way, I think you really want to have a face-to-face with a bear, so go and schedule a bear hunt and shoot one.

Joseph kiesznoski

When I am in bear country, I enjoy the company of a liberal,great for bear defence.

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